NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) — It’s become almost a daily tradition, John Lennon fans visiting the Imagine Memorial built in his memory at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, but Saturday on Lennon’s 70th birthday there was a huge turnout of peace and love, CBS 2HD’s Magee Hickey reports.
Three of Lennon’s bandmates from The Quarrymen, the group he formed before the Beatles, were also on hand. “He was just a normal, regular guy. Nothing special about him, no halo over his head, no arrow pointing this guy’s going to be famous. Just a guy from Liverpool. Slightly rebellious but weren’t we all?” said drummer Colin Hanton.
Fans come in all ages and from so many countries and everyone has their reason for loving the music. “We came from Argentina because we love John Lennon,” a tourist said.
“He’s be a beautiful old man and a great musician, only getting better,” said Gary Dos Santos, mayor of Strawberry fields.
“He was a dreamer and we’re all dreamers and he touches my heart and I won’t let that go,” said Marlo Rowe Gorosh.
With a peace and love march in Central Park and two films featuring the Beatles – one looking at John Lennon’s life before the Beatles and the other a documentary examining Lennon’s life in New York City – Saturday was a day just to imagine.
From the British invasion in 1964 to his untimely murder in 1980, Lennon has always had a special relationship with New York City.
“Songs like “Give Me Some Truth” means a lot now, and of course “Give Peace A Chance” of course, you know, “Imagine,” all his political songs really have a lot of meaning right now for people and I think that’s why people revive in his songs,” said Yoko Ono.
To mark Lennon’s 70th, all of his solo albums and have been remastered and re-released. A new PBS documentary chronicles his years in New York.
And a new film, “Nowhere Boy,” brings to life the young John Lennon, Paul McCartney and the birth of the Beatles.
In August in the Big Apple, Last month, here in the city, a very special reunion took place. Lennon’s first wife Cynthia, the woman he left her for, Yoko Ono, and their sons, half-brothers Sean and Julian made a rare appearance together.
At 47, Julian is already seven years older than when his father died. “I’m actually looking at my age and his age, going, ‘Jesus, what happened’?” he said.
In a rare interview, Ono said, her husband would have been as active today as he had ever been. “Well I don’t think that he would have retired. He’s not the retiring type, so he would have been very angry about the situation that’s going on in the world now and probably starting to become an activist again.”
Ono was in Iceland Saturday, where she planned to relight the Imagine Peace Tower, which was dedicated two years ago.